Santa Fe, NM – St. Francis Cathedral

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You can’t, or at least shouldn’t, visit Santa Fe without stepping inside of at least one of the town’s beautiful old churches.  The most prominent is St. Francis Cathedral, located just one block east of the town square, at the end of W. San Francisco St.

In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI declared the cathedral a Basilica, an honor given to very few Catholic churches around the world, based on historical importance, antiquity, and the artwork contained inside.  The church certainly ranks high in historical significance: the parish was formed in 1610, ten years before the pilgrims landed in New England.

As for the current cathedral, it was built between 1869 and 1884.

St. Francis Cathedral is one of the few buildings in Santa Fe not constructed of adobe.  Local rules require every building in the city to either be made of, or covered with adobe.  While St. Francis has a stone facade, the attached Conquistadora Chapel is made of adobe–it was built in 1714.

In the courtyard in front of the church, you’ll find several statues, including this one, entitled St. Francis of Assisi Dancing On Water. This statue was created by a Santa Fe artist, and is relatively new, dedicated in 2004.

A closer look at the statue reveals many different inscribed messages.

There’s also an more accurate depiction of St. Francis, standing in front of the cathedral.

St. Francis Cathedral is beautiful inside.  Unless they’re holding a mass, you’re free to go inside and walk around (so long as you’re quiet and respectful).

The sanctuary…

… the baptismal…

… and a smaller chapel, that branches off to the side of the sanctuary.

Note: This trip was first published in 2006.

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